With Bulletproofing Pins, our first instructor course now live, we’d like to outline what you can expect from the Academy in 2018. Our course development approach has been synthesized from experience gained building our first instructor course and feedback we’ve received from the community.
This post was originally an 8 minute livestream video until it was forever lost by Facebook’s page admin tools. Now it’s a short written overview.
Instructor Course Objectives
The Academy’s courses are not designed to replace or be a substitute for the mentor/disciple relationship that is the true foundation for development of aikido practitioners and instructors. Our instructor programs are intended to use the unique resources and assets of Aikido Journal to further strengthen our instructors’ capabilities in a way that is complementary and additive to the direct training and guidance instructors already receive from their mentors and organizations.
We’ll start with three types of courses – progressive, classical, and non-technical. We’ll develop one progressive course (Bulletproofing Pins is our first), followed by a classical course and finally a non-technical course. We’ll then repeat the cycle and move on to a new progressive course. Our goal is to design and produce 4 new courses in 2018.
For these programs, we’ll collaborate with a subject matter expert(s) who brings deep domain expertise within the area of focus for the course. The courses will be designed to help us to explore concepts of interest to our community with experts that bring a different perspective and valuable skill set.
Some in the community are interested in learning how they can flow into techniques they are already very skilled with (like iriminage) from attacks like kicks, jabs, and crosses. . Others topics with high levels of community interest are tanto-dori (knife control) and internal power.
Not everyone in the community will be interested in these courses and they’re not designed to be of interest to everyone. These programs are designed for those within the community who are very interested in exploring in these areas. Some instructors won’t have any interest in progressive topics, some may enroll in the courses for their own continuing education but never teach any course material in their dojos. Some may like one or two elements from a course and find great ways to integrate it into their aikido, and some may even be inspired to dig much deeper and become a new specialized knowledge resource for the community.
We don’t believe everyone in the aikido world needs to focus on these kinds of topics, but we do believe it’s healthy for us to have a group within the larger aikido ecosystem that explores progressive topics, is interested in seeing what other people are doing, and seeks to find ways to integrate new concepts and skills into their aikido. Many of O-Sensei’s direct students learned from martial artists outside the aikido world and brought that knowledge into their expressions of the art. We think this is still a worthwhile endeavor for some within our art to pursue, and we want to do our part to empower them to do so.
The next course from the Academy will be a classical course. These courses will be beautiful showcases of traditional aikido, led by some of our greatest masters. These programs will be beautifully produced and something the entire aikido world can be proud of. Classical course curriculum will be targeted to have maximum impact for instructors and will be designed to ensure high levels of relevance for practitioners of all styles of aikido.
Classical courses will showcase traditional aikido technique and weave in important elements of aikido philosophy, history, and culture. We’re now in the planning stages of our first classical course and are very excited about it. We look forward to updating you on our first classical instructor course in the not too distant future.
Some instructors within our community are very interested in non-technical topics. Courses without any specific technique-based instruction. Some want to know how to run dojo operations more successfully or are interested in seeing different approaches to program design. Others are interested in digging deeper into anatomy and biomechanics. We do quite a few joint locks in aikido. Some are interested in learning how the joint system works in the human body. We also have many masters and veteran practitioners with knee injuries. Some instructors are interested in getting new perspectives from top movement performance specialists on how we might be able to optimize our movements or tune training methods to minimize long-term wear and tear knee injuries.
Top topics of interest within this category are Art of the Dojo (success stories, tools, and guidance for dojo operations and leadership) and program design and community building for kids. Aikido Journal thinks its very healthy that some within the aikido community are interested in these topics and we want to support those that wish to seek in this area. We believe that for veteran practitioners and instructors, these kinds of skills can be valuable additions to our knowledge base.
We’ll begin work on our first non-technical course after we finish production on our first classical course.
Help us with our next course
We’d encourage you to explore Bulletproofing Pins, our first progressive instructor course. We’ll be using both community feedback and usability data from the course to drive a cycle of improvements before we finalize planning for our next course. The structure for our first classical course may be different from our progressive course template, but we still expect to get valuable insights from Bulletproofing Pins that we’ll use to improve our next course.
If you don’t like the course, or find the topic’s not relevant to you, Aikido Journal will happily give you a full refund. We hope you’ll take a look and let us know what you think.